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In the last few months, we’ve been testing and using Google Apps for Your Domain for many of our standard business net services including email, documents, spreadsheets, and even presentations. Overall, we’ve been pretty pleased with the setup minus some aggravations that Google will hopefully fix over time. As of this writing, the Standard version is still free of charge which is a HUGE plus to a small company. Here’s some thoughts on it:
1. Wish I could administer the email service a bit better, they just added IMAP support, which helps considerably, but I still don’t have an easy way to monitor, filter, etc user’s email. Not a big deal, especially since you can upgrade to the Enterprise version and this ability comes with it.

2. Easier Group Chat would be huge. While the Google Apps Gmail is offering this as a part of the chat app embedded in the Inbox, they haven’t, to my knowledge, offered it to Google Apps yet. Since we mostly run Macs here, we use iChat a lot on most of the client computers, so I have to setup a seperate Jabber server in order to be able to create a chat room. The Google Talk application when tied into your Google Apps account will work, but alas, there’s no version for the Mac. The flash-made Talk Gadget through the web is, in my opinion, simply not up to the task. So, until they give us the ability for group chats through the Inbox applet or through iChat, I’m pretty much stuck. Oh, and other third-party chat clients (such as Pidgin) won’t group chat either.

3. The SpreadSheets tend to be pretty slow, especially when dealing with large amounts of information. But, for most cases, it works well.

But overall, it’s definitely worth the time and effort to put in place. It keeps small businesses from having to mess with the intricacies of email service, provides all the email/data backup, etc for you, and provides the nice Google interface with most everything. And best of all, it’s free!

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